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STEEP with BIG bumps - Bob Barnes?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I am trying to develop a lesson "strategy" for the "last frontier"...

I ski perhaps 8 - 8.5 - I can ski bumps / steeps but the combination of very steep with BIG bumps gets deeply into my head.

Dealing with the mental aspect (self-confidence) is probably where I need the most work.

post #2 of 33
I'm no BobBarnes but I can offer this piece of advice.
Think of the flat top spot of each bump as "green terrain" It is a very short section of green but it is green if you can stand on it without falling over. make your pole plant/touch, drop your tips (by flexing your ankles) release your edges and extend your legs into a turn and then start to absorb the next bump/green space on the hill and then start looking for another "green" spot to make the next turn. Break down the huge hill to little bits of green spots with small black steeps in between each green area. Then start making 2 turns and get comfortable with that, then 3 turns. ...
Hope that helps.
post #3 of 33
very good lesson plan. Your mentors have taught you well.

let me ask you this. What do you tend to do in the bumps now? Do you extend against them as you approach impact? Do you traverse a few bumps prior to turning, and then turn rather quickly? Do you lift up the inside ski to assist your turn?

A discription of your current technique would help to determine a path to develop a solid technique in rowdy Level 9 Bumps.

p.s. You are right about mindset. The right frame of mind in skiing big bumps, can sometime override poor technique. As can the wrong mindset while skiing bumps, can ruin flawless groomed skiing technique.

best regards,
Breck<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Jonathan (edited February 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Right now I use the tops for unweighting/initiating turns... or try to carve the troughs...

Sometimes I traverse so my timing is better suited and I am not rushing and out of balance.

I really enjoy the less-than-vw-beetle sized bumps...

That help?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Mikla (edited February 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 33
those answers are of some help. Rather than carving through the troughs, you may want to add a bit of smooth scraping throughout the turn.
Other questions I may have are? Do you rise up as you go over the bump? Do you extend against the bump to maintain speed control?

I think a very important awareness in these type of moguls is activity in the legs. Specifically movement in the joints. Ankle knee, hip socket, and sometimes spine.

(BTW, I love true Steep, big, round mogul runs. Unfortunately, most runs resemble junk yards with upside down canoes, buried mopeds, and other incoherent shapes.)

*******TWO LINES******
you can have many line and combination of line choices down a run. I will mention two (courtesy of Lito T-Flores). A)Slow exit line and B) Fast exit line.

You can think of skiing down the ruts and glacing off shoulders of the bumps as the fast exit line. This requires a very active flexing and extending of the legs to maintain ski snow contact, and to help minimize impact into the face of the next bump. A very fast exit line would be one that a mogul racer would take.

A slow exit line uses turn shape and terrain to maintain speed control, this relies a bit more on blending Turning, Tipping, and Flexing/extending in combination. The skier skis down the shoulder of the mogul and crosses to the outside of the rut line (perhaps even glancing off another mogul)as the arc of the turn continues to the face of the next mogul. You don't need to turn on every mogul your skis touch.

*****Flexing and Extending Excercise*******
F/E movements are used to maintain balance and control Pressure (specifically presure between the ski and the snow, and shin contact on the boot).
I will include a pattern of movement that is critical to have in your skiing to ski VW's well. And then give you an excercise that incorporates this.

The movement resembles back-pedaling a bicycle.
As you approach a mogul, Toes come up, ankles Flex, knees are relaxed and slightly flexing.
As you go up the face of the mogul your knees and hip socket will flex in order to absorb the mogul. Your ankles must maintain flexion. As your knee continues to flex, your feet move underneath your hips.

As you go over the shoulder of the Mogul, you will start to extend from the hip socket, and slighly from the knees. Still maintain flexion in the ankle (although you may have to extend slightly to radically depending on how the bump drops off. This is to allow the tip of the ski maintain contact with the snow).

As you approach the middle of the turn your knee joint is extending, and to a lesser extent the hip socket to establish leg length for the rut and to maintain the feet being underneath the hips.

those are the mechanics, I don't suggest you go to the top of the gnarliest bump run you know and practice these.

What I do suggest is get used to these movements on comfortable bump runs, preferably uncrowded and somewhat wide.

Here is the excercise:
Traverse across using this movements. 3 cues for you to use: 1)Consistant amount boot/shin contact; 2)tip of ski coming very close to maintaining constant contact with the snow; 3)Constant pressure between the base of the ski underneath you foot and the snow. (What you don't want is heavy weighting at the bump, and a absence of pressure on the backside of the bump.)

Start this with a traverse, then make larger turns going across 3 bumps per turn using these movements, across 2 bumps per turn, 1 bumps per turn with a slow exit line, and then 1 bump per turn with a fast exit line.
Lastly, as you feel good with these movements tilt up the pitch. Adjust your mindset as needed, but these movement will work.

Well it was a chapter, but there you go. Still many more chapters to expert bump skiing. Enjoy the process.

Best Regards,
post #6 of 33
Can't remember if you are the one from skipros? If so, many thanks for the refer. Barry Scott at the canyons is no longer taking privates (I suspect unless special conditions) due to the fact that he is assistant director for the ski school there however he hooked me up with Lyle Stewart which turned out to be a fantastic week of lessons and tagalongs. The comments above were his tips for the others in our group that were just starting to get their feet wet in the steep big bumps.
post #7 of 33
Great topic. Thank you Dchan and Jonathan for the good advice.Your right most bumps don't look like VW Beetles (is that the Old Beetle or the New One?)But like you said a junk yard.I have been working hard on taking my mogul skiing up a notch or two and I am sure your advice here is going to help.

The Best skier in the world is the One with the biggest smile. Utah49
post #8 of 33
Yes, big steep bumps are the hardest to master. I remember a couple of years ago the US Freestyle Team was training at the local mountain where I was instructing. We would go out and try to ski their lines which often had 3-5ft drops between moguls. What I tried to do was keep the skis in contact with the snow and turning right around the base of each mogul, absorbing (usually with my knees pounding into my chest) breifly at the top of the next bump. The real key is to get very comfortable at high speeds in the bumps. (I would straight run shorter, less steep bump feilds to get used to regaining control when I shot out of my line)
post #9 of 33
I find the shape of bumps has changed and in essence has elongated. Make two turns on the spine of the bump and avoid the "next" trough. Pass/Bypass the next trough and ski the backside of the bump. Ski the soft snow you see riding up the lift. The zipper line or trough on any bump run is the "sucker line"

One last thought. I seem to ski well when I think about initiating every turn by letting my shoulders fall down the hill. I feel as thogh my shoulders initiate and the rest of my body follows. I'm not turning with my shoulders. My shoulders are extending/falling.
post #10 of 33
Any comments on the best ski for steep bumps?
post #11 of 33
Graet posts all around. What Bob B said about ACTIVE retraction/absorbtion is what it's all about. If you are extending as your skis are moving up the face of the bump, it has a tendency to turn you into a scud missile. This makes it very hard to maintain control because you are now falling down the back (very steep) side of the bump.

So here's an exercise to work on active retraction:

As your skis start to rise up a bump, try not to let your skis touch the top of the bump. To do this, retract your legs quickly, so that the skis come off the snow as you are reaching the crest. Then, extend your legs again so that they come down on the back of the bump. This is a very effective exercise, and will also help you maintain your balance as you come over large bumps. If it's easier to think about just hopping over the very top of the bump, then that may work better for you.
post #12 of 33
I think your exercise is a good one. This is one of the few times you should be almost looking down at your skis so you can see the ground in front of you. Most of the time we are told to look more ahead so we are not bent over at the waist but you need to see those bumps in front of your ski. As you get better you can look further ahead again and anticipate the on coming bump.

I would also work on this when skiing long traverses as a lot of them get those washboard bumps. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited February 14, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great replies!

To describe my technique a little better:

I use active flexion/extension in all terrain... especially in the bumps, I am not into taking "air". I work very hard at keeping my skis on the snow. I use terrain "features" to unweight, which is why I like lesser bumps/moguls. I suspect that my technique is close to correct for the large bumps; but the mental aspect is where I fall off...
post #14 of 33
Again for the mental side of it, break down the run to the area right in front of you. If you don't get past that next bump/turn, the rest of the hill won't exist. Your task at hand needs to be your next turn.
Good luck. Happy bumping...
post #15 of 33

Using terrain to unweight in big bumps can be a problem. Think about this... On smooth terrain, when you unweight (up-unweight), the skis become light when you reach the top of the up movement. If you add to that, the fact that in bumps, the terrain immediately starts moving away from you (the back of the bump), then you have lost all ability to control your speed and direction (see the thread "you can't ski on air"). By basically pre-jumping the moguls, your skis will stay in contact with the snow more, and you will be able to control your sped and direction.

Go out and experiment with skiing bumps differently than you are used to. You may find that what works in small bumps has the exact opposite effect in larger, steeper bumps.

If it is just mental pressure, see the thread about smoking pot on the hill
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hi JohnH,
One thing I have learned from this thread for sure is that it's difficult to describe what one does when skiing... Up-unweighting? Lifting the "new" uphill ski while pressuring/tipping/edging the "new" downhill ski?

The instant *between* having actively engaged edges (unweighted?) when the skis cross under - the point at which the "up" ends (end of extension, beginning of flexion)...

I see "active flexion" as pulling my knees up, as it were, actively absorbing or "pre-jumping" (which could also be unweighting?)... at the top of the bump, extension > into the down side of the bump while engaging edges to carve/scrub speed > into the trough where flexion begins again...

Using the terrain to "assist" the unweighting process, to me, means that instant of "lift" from the terrain where edges disengage; flexion > extension... at this point, one would become airborne if not for subsequent extension.

Sheesh... *talking about it* is confusing... the action is not.

Does what I am saying make any sense?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Mikla (edited February 14, 2001).]</FONT>
post #17 of 33
arrggggg. too.. much.. infor.. mation.. to process....
head.. about.. to.. ex.. plode
Mikla, Yes easier to do than write.
post #18 of 33
Mikla- bumps have that way of playing with everyone's mental block. A couple of points. 1. It will not feel like groomed don't expect to much!
2. Just keep turning! to many people look for a line I believe there is seldom a line you need to be able to just make turns. Some will be on top, some on shoulder, some in the troughs. Do your best to keep them out of the troughs.
3. Change your movements so that your turn your legs when short and reach them long to control the turn.
4. Take your ski's off, Lay down at the top of the run. Now they don't look so big and deep! Not put the ski's on and have FUN!
post #19 of 33
Yeah, you got it Mikla!

Active retraction is actually "down unweighting". Moving your body (torso) down so quickly that your skis become light on the snow. To do this, you need to pull your feet up. Think... jumping rope.

Up unweighting starts with up-weighting. As you extend your legs (jsut stand there and jump), the pressure increases on the bottom of your feet until you abruptly stop moving up. At this point, the inertia of your mass wants to keep moving up, so your feet get light and you come off the ground.

You made this statement: "Using the terrain to "assist" the unweighting process, to me, means that instant of "lift" from the terrain where edges disengage; flexion > extension... at this point, one would become airborne if not for subsequent extension." The only thing I would change here, is the last word. You would become airborne if not for "retraction" or "absorbtion". If you were to extend off the bump, you would project yourself into the air.

Again, try the exercise I mentioned arlier; as your skis start to rise up the bump, pull your feet up underneath you and "hop" over the crest of the bump, so that the skis never touch the top. This way, your mass will not move upward as your skis travel up the bump. Only your feet will. It's a whole lot easier to show this than it is to describe it. blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda.
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Right on, JohnH and dchan!!! What he said!!!

heh heh heh...

*Remember when I started this thread, I said STEEPS with BIG bumps get deeply into my head*?

I will work on the exercises.

Thanks AGAIN, everyone!
post #21 of 33
What a great thread. This is the first time I have actually heard anyone refer to "bumps the size of Volkswagons" besides me. Maybe I just haven't been talking to the right people all these years! Hey Gonzo, if you're out there I'm thinkin of the Grizzly Chute at the Bowl- how bout you?

Someone above mentioned making lots of turns which is correct. When not skiing the big steep bumps practice fast fall line skiing making as many turns as you can. This will help with what Bob had to say: ""Positions" and technical thought have no place in big bumps--reactions and tactics are where it's at.

Learning to be able to "turn on demand" as opposed to when it "feels right" to stay in your rythym, takes you to a new level in skiing. This will help when you get in those vdub bumps and do all the up down unweighting shoulders down the hill stuff.

A fun exercise that will help with "turning on demand" is follow the leader. It's okay with two people but is really fun with like a half dozen. Make several runs taking turns being the leader. The rules are you MUST turn EXACTLY where the person in front of you turned. Stay close. It can be an eye opener and help you get out of only turning when it "feels good" and forcing you to turn when you have to, when it may not "feel good" to you.When you can throw a few turns anytime you NEED to and then have that turn into anytime you WANT to regardless of terrain you've made a big leap. After that it's just time on the mountain, physical conditioning and strength.

post #22 of 33
"bumps the size of Volkswagons"

Heard and saw that the first time many years ago as I stared down 75 Chute at Squaw. Took the chicken way out.
post #23 of 33
Yeah, I agree about follow the leader. That game is the best, I have 2 friends here that are great to follow, and we often mix up each run to include the bumps of the moment plus steeps, crud, branches, powder, ice, and scary traverses. Groomers too. Follow the leader shows me how these guys think, they can hold very consistant relaxed turns on any terrain at much more open radius than I can pick. I get insight into the way they read the hill, which is a mental game, and I may or may not attain their skill, but I can savor it for a few minutes by hanging there turn after turn. Get real close so you get those face shots every turn!

How steep are steep huge moguls? I'm guessing over 2 feet tall, sharply peaked and valley'd, and steeper that 25 degrees. Maybe what I'm trying will help someone else.

I am challanged by the same conditions and have been working on getting more competant in the bumps this year. I have been taking a physical approach rather than an exclusively technical approach. I have been working on form, control, and line.

Form. I remind myself to face downhill. I remind myself to never let my hands and elbows drift back. I keep my shoulders level with the hill. I let my quads relax.

Control. Tighten the abs to give a solid foundation for balance. This also allows the legs to relax and extend/retract independantly from the torso. Breathe out loud to maintain endurance. A friend has told me that the difference between a good line and a bad line is only 8" or so, so I am trying to find the best line each turn. Moguls are a spot where carved turns don't cut it, I am working on a skidded turn (stalling a turn), then jamming my edges and flowing into the next turn/bump. Sometimes the trough needs to be jumped, I'm trying to do it smoothly. I am trying to do it equally both right and left. I am making most turns on the far side of the moguls and avoiding the troughs. I am working very hard at not over-turning and going into a traverse, this absolutely kills the flow. This is not easy! I scan downhill 2-3 turns ahead.

Line. This is the newest concept for me. There is the safe measured line from bump to bump that gives me comfort. Then there is the more open line that gobbles vertical without traversing. It's a fine line to cross but will take a couple more seasons to get there. Speed control and form are key, I think. It is a step from 1-2 turns per mogul to 2-3 moguls per turn. This does not mean blazing speed. It is attained by being calm and quiet on your skis.

I use soft skiis and boots that don't throw me around. Midfat width works here at Bridger Bowl. I suspect I could go with a little stiffer gear as I get better.

As far as pushing hard to learn, some days the spark isn't there. I back off. I don't need a mound of snow to kick my a**. Know your limitations, listen to your body.
post #24 of 33
Pierre eh!

I'll buy a copy of the video. Honestly.
post #25 of 33
Again, I ask, favorite ski for bumps?
post #26 of 33
Rusty - There were a only a few when I was researching this last year. It seems the number goes down yearly due to the popularity of terrain parks (see how many "bump" skis are twin-tips, not too many bump skiers land backward after their kickers). Without demo-ing them, I ended up with Hart F-17s, and I love them, I *love* them. You'll be hard pressed to find those now, Hart is out of business.

Your other options would be:
* Volkl - V Straightline (The only ski that I know of specifically intended for bumps)
* Head - Cyber Cross Ti (Slalom type ski, they claim it's good in the bumps, though)
* Salomon - 1080 (they swear it's a bump ski now, it's a twin tip)
* K2 - Power Mamba (another twin tip), or M6 SSL (M6 is actually a slalom ski)
* Atomic - Beta Free Zone Bump (yet another twin tip)

If you ask me, I don't like sidecut skis in the bumps, find the straightest pair you can. Slalom skis generally have less sidecut, so those are popular. I'd suggest that you demo whatever you can. However, it's tough to demo bump skis, they don't usually do it. They're catering to the average skier, and the average skier doesn't do zipper-lines.

I bought my last pair (Kaestle Vertech) for $84. They lasted 6 seasons ($14/season... not bad). They sucked, as far as skis go. I learned bumps in those skis... I liked bumps in those skis... so it's possible to ski (& enjoy) bumps on anything. I'll tell you now, though, I wouldn't go back.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by sippy (edited February 14, 2001).]</FONT>
post #27 of 33
Bump Skis,
If you can find them Salomon superforce9 2s
or equipe Axe carver 2s are supposed to be great bump skis. and they run the hill pretty good too. These are listed as I think Super G Slalom but every tester thought they were great bump skis.
I don't agree with the straight ski in the bumps. both of the salomons I listed above are not straight but not really shaped either. lets call them super sidecut. In between the shaped skis of today and the straight skis of yesterday.

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited February 14, 2001).]</FONT>
post #28 of 33
Hey Gonz,
I heard you guys got some snow. Time to make those runs for me

Ya, Angel Face.
When I was learning how to ski they never groomed the Spartan (heck I don't think they groomed anything) but it was like Angel Face. I still remember the first time I skied (tried to anyway) it as a kid following my friend instead of taking the cat track around it. Ouch. It's where I learned to ski bumps. Then I went there one day in the late 80's and they had actually groomed the Spartan. It was kind of like losing and old friend.

The Bowl is definately a great place to work on the stuff in this post.

post #29 of 33
Thanks to all for the equipment discussion. I too heard the Hart F17 was a good choice and found a pair at a used ski shop in Summit County. They have another pair, or did, three weeks ago and I can get a phone # for the store if anyone is interested.

I was interested by BB's input re; shaped vs. straight and short vs. long. I'm trying to turn more, get out of the troughs, be a little more imaginative with my line and most importantly slow down. I'm 5'11" 190 lbs skiing on a 170 Fischer Alltrax 68. I guess my question really is about the flex of the tip. Is a soft ski desirable and how does one measure tip flex?
post #30 of 33
Hello Mikla,

From your description it sounds like you are a fairly reasonable advanced skier. I've spent much of my long skiing life time in moguls at steep acned western resorts with lots of snow. One thing I have come to know is that there are few skiers that ski moguls well enough to actually enjoy them. Most of the good bump skiers are locals working at or around ski country, or those who have spent some past period in their life skiing intensively, or like me ski frequently each year over many years. There are many good advanced skiers who enjoy skiing greatly that never really get very competent in moguls. They usually concentrate on other areas of skiing they like and simply maintain the ability to move through bumps with modest working effort. I occasionally will meet someone on a chair that sounds like they are reasonable in moguls but usually they go down the fall line horsing through most bumps, skiing a few smoothly, but overall using lots of energy, and have to stop all too quickly. They really don't look at all like a smooth bump skier when they are even skiing smaller bumps they would say are easy.

For me becoming a talented bump skiing was the most difficult athletic accomplishment of my life. As a young skier, I with considerable athletic talents, wondered why I wasn't able to likewise become accomplished in moguls. Unless one has a good instructor at hand the road is tough indeed. I self taught myself the slow way. Now I feel much like Pierre. Each season on the first day, on my first run down this confusing terrain, I usually can ski a long distance relatively smoothly. Its like magic huh Pierre! My brain is now well wired for such and I have no idea why this is so.

The next thing I will say is there are bumps, and then there are bumps, and then there are bumps and conditions and conditions. I like what Bob had to say, "...there will always be bumps big enough and trails steep enough to intimidate anyone at any level" and that is true for me too. I hate skiing shady frozen west facing bump runs on a cold spring morning. The same run at 3pm will be fine.

For the majority of advanced skiers mogul skiing is more like horsing around a big bike in motor cross. One enjoys the success and excitement of having successfully negotiated challenging terrain managing some degree of success on a run but they don't really get too much of the terrific sensual feedback that is potentially there. Like frantic exciting 100 feet or so through some length of bumps and then bail. But when one can with confidence move for the most part SMOOTHLY through bumps like a ricochetting pin ball, it is a fantastic experience at the next level. Sooner or later we all need to stop no matter how smooth we are.

The next thing I want to pick on is on typical technique though it would be inappropriate to go into much detail. I don't think ski teaching has done all that great a job of verbally or graphically explaining how to ski moguls or a few other aspects of skiing for that manner. True a great deal is significantly explained but there are holes. As an example the typical rigidly explained theory is that one carves or skids turns. Heck what about considering the density, firmness, and weight of the snow being pushed by the bottom of ones ski in a turn? To me there is a heck of a lot of difference arcing my skis through light groomed packed powder versus 2 week old heavy spring re-groomed. Depending on whether one is skiing frozen hardpack, firmpack, mid winter packed powder groomed, spring mushy corn, low density spring mash potatoes, end of the day thickening corn, etc etc one needs to compensate in different ways on those counter forces but that is glossed over. A real expert instructor would say, "Yeah we know about that platforming stuff but it would only confuse the pupil with excessive details". Maybe so but the point is skiing is not simple and admitting that is worth some wisdom at both ends.

I've read lots of garbage about where one is supposed to be looking ahead in the bumps. Yikes! If the light is good, my eyes, senses ,and brain have figured the exact next turn out while I'm going into maximum compression before starting to unweight. All I need to do is relax a moment while I delay a lingering unweighting and let whatever my body is automatically going to do happens.

As for steep bumps per your question mikla the below are just a few marginally described crumbs. The first requirements are to really have strong legs and torso so the bumps don't over power one with the large forces which are a fact. Work out, get strong. Great bump skiers can make it look easy in part because they do as their mind wants and not per the big terrain. Also you ever notice that high upper torso and head snap at the end of a bump skiers compression. That is a tool to deal with bigger forces. Let your slightly arching upright back more gradually release leveraging forces into the compression. Aim the turn through the steep side of the bump directly at the where the ruts lip drops to the next bump. -dave
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SSSdave (edited February 16, 2001).]</FONT>
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